Tag Archives: travel

Seeing “The weight of One Self”

"The weight of One Self" - marble sculpture of height 2.7m by artists Michael Elmgreen & Ingar Dragset, in Lyon, France.
“The weight of One Self” – sculpture of height 2.7m by artists Michael Elmgreen & Ingar Dragset, in Lyon, France.
I look at my limp
body in my arms and I
wonder who saved whom.
I can only hold
the weight of my own conscience,
talk the truth I know.
Never a hero
was made by saving himself-
Completely untrue.

 

You can read more about this philosophically forceful sculpture here.

My Favourite Things, Chorus (to end the series)

When the dog bites,
When the bee stings,
When I’m feeling sad,
I simply remember my favourite things,
And then I don’t feel so bad.

 

Here’s the final entry for the chorus of My Favourite Things (from The Sound of Music) to conclude the wonderful series of Subjects from Songs, for Cee’s weekly Fun Foto Challenge.

 

When the dog bites

Dog bites can hurt. I was bitten by a stray dog when I was a child growing up in India. I was on a morning walk with my father and he stopped to chat with a neighbour. I kept walking. I turned around to see my dad talking to his friend, not too far away and then I spotted this scrawny black little dog who’d been following me. I love dogs and I always have so I stopped and faced him. I was a little nervous, to be sure and I gingerly stretched out my left arm to pet him. He got spooked and bit into my arm. I screamed and my dad came running. I vaguely remember what happened next: My dad rushed me home and washed my arm, and then rushed me to the doctor’s for rabies shots. I am now a proud owner of a canine’s canine marks on my arm. A poor man’s battle scars. However I’ve never stopped loving dogs.

I share with you a picture of a beautiful Bernese Mountain Dog (Berner Sennenhund), a class of breeds related to the famous St. Bernard of the Swiss and Italian Alps. Senne is German for alpine pastures and Hund means dog. The Sennenhund class contains four working dog breeds. The breed in picture here is named after its canton of origin, Bern. This beauty was extremely friendly and full of love. She enjoyed the attention and loved being cuddled. There are very few things in my life that I would rate higher on the happiness scale than a good cuddle from a big fluffy dog.

Bernese Mountain Dog
Bernese Mountain Dog

 

When the bee stings

I have never been stung by a bee. I hope that it never happens. Their’s is the kind of beauty that I enjoy from a distance.

Passion Flower with Bee
Passion Flower with Bee

 

When I’m feeling sad

I can’t wait for spring!
Fog
 

I simply remember my favourite things

Here are the links to my previous posts for My Favourite Things series

Verse 1: Raindrops on Roses & whiskers on kittens…

Verse 2: Cream coloured ponies and crisp apple strudels… (which was selected by Cee to be ‘Featured’)

Verse 3: Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes…

 

And then I don’t feel so bad…

…to present the grand finale to The Sound of Music Tour.

What better way to end the tour than by visiting the church where Maria and Captain Von Trapp got married!

The church in the village of Mondsee in the outskirts of Salzburg where Maria and Captain Von Trapp were married in the movie.

Church in Mondsee
A peak inside the church. You should be able to recognise the altar from the movie.

Altar at Mondsee church

A closer view…
Altar in Mondsee Church

We see Maria’s long beautiful train from above as “How do you solve a problem like Maria” plays in the background. This was probably shot from where the organ of the church is located.
Organ in Mondsee Church

 

We know what happens next in the tensed climax of the movie. I will not ruin it for those who haven’t yet watched this wonderful and uplifting piece of cinema. I will instead conclude this series of posts by thanking the wonderful people at Panorama Tours in Salzburg, Austria for running an excellent Sound of Music Tour. I heartily recommend it!

Panorama Tour Salzburg
The Sound of Music Tour bus, Panorama Tours, Salzburg Austria

Thank you for coming along with me as I made my way through one of my favourite songs! I hope you enjoyed the ride.

Limericks on being Indian in Switzerland

 

If I had a Cent or better a Franc
For every person who after they drank
Imitated the Indian accent
(As if it was sexy to be Saxon)
I’d be richer than all these Swiss banks!
Swiss currency (c) Keeps from Flickr. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
Swiss currency (c) Keeps from Flickr. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

 

I come from a tropical land you see
A country that’s cottony balmy breezy
Then you put me on snow
And expect me to know
How to manage these blasted slippery skis!
(c) wplynn from Flickr CC BY-ND 2.0
(c) wplynn from Flickr CC BY-ND 2.0

 

Whoever is the genius who thought up these
Innovative ways to communally eat melted cheese:
Bless you good soul
For now I owe
You a very cramped stomach indeed!
(c) Alexandre Duret-Lutz from Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0
(c) Alexandre Duret-Lutz from Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

 

unnamed
Day 2: Prompt-Journey; Form-Limerick; Device-Alliteration

 

Asymmetric love in a symmetric world

Alcazar, Seville.
Alcazar, Seville
Though symmetry can be pleasing to the eyes asymmetry can grab all your senses.

 

An informal ode to an uncharacteristic love

I wrote, in quiet symmetry of love and loss,
About the ineptitude of wisdom’s foresight.
One hears and sees but does not learn until one crosses
The path littered with shattered hopes. A light
glows and I divine thick patterns out of thin air.
This design will be positive because you can trace
Out the negative with architectural flair.
Your skewed beauty gives me courage to colour outside
The lines. Asymmetry now fills my life and this I find
To be perfectly in line with my girlhood dreams.
O Wonderful Anomaly, you make me lose my rhyme scheme.
Why else would I love you so dearly?
 

This post is inspired by Weekly Photo Challenge: Symmetry and Daily Prompt: Cupid's Arrow.

My Favourite Things, Verse 3

Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes,
Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes,
Silver white winters that melt into springs,
These are a few of my favourite things.

 

We make our way through the third verse of My Favourite Things from the movie The Sound of Music. This post is my entry to Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge where she’s doing a series on Subjects from Songs. You can find my entries to the previous verses in the songs by clicking on the respective hyperlinked texts: verse 1; verse 2. As usual I’ll be interpreting the verses in my own way.

Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes

Not really white dresses with blue sashes but don’t these ceramic columns look just as beautiful?

Blue on white ceramic fences of Plaza de Espana, Seville.
Plaza de Espana, Seville.

 

Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes

Fresh snow flakes on a blue car bonnet. They reminded me of clouds in the sky. They make me dream.

Snowflakes on a blue car bonnet
Snowflakes on a blue car bonnet

 

Silver white winters that melt into springs

Who is weeping I wonder: The earth, for it is disrobing its soft silken gown of innocence to flower or the snow, for it is met with a warmth that it will never appreciate?

Switzerland

 

 

And now we continue on our The Sound of Music Tour,

A view of the beautiful Wolfgangsee and the surrounding hills (unfortunately hidden by rain clouds) which are featured aerially in the opening credits of the movie.

Wolfgangsee, Austria
Wolfgangsee, Austria

 

The famous path down which we see Maria (Julie Andrews) dancing, running, skipping, twirling her guitar singing herself into bravery! I like to sing this song before any public speaking appointment or interview.

I have confidence in confidence ALONE
I have confidence in confidence ALONE

 

The front of the Von Trapp family home that Maria sees when she finally meets that massive iron gate. The villa is now a private residence and tourists are no longer permitted even on the path leading to it (the image above). There is constant security around here and our bus driver just slowed down just enough for us to grab some blurry shots of the house. I am certain the current residents are extremely annoyed with Hollywood.

Salzburg, Austria
The Von Trapp family home front

 

So long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Adieu…

Until the next verse, which will bring us to our grand finale.

Re-aligning the Hindu scale

Madurai Meenakshi temple
Madurai Meenakshi temple

For One to Three
Forgetting the Two
Hundreds to millions to a billion
In faith that travels across
Space and time, no dimension or scale
Necessary to measure that
Which comforts and heals.
In belief they appear
Perfect, not in practice –
Forgetting there is a Two.
Some others philosophise on
The need to multiply
Ritualistic fractions
Keeping a single constant denominator.
Rationals drawing straight lines
Forget it takes two points.

And, or, either
Remember to factor
To carry over the base
And make equal
The Feminine.
From One to Two to Six.

In Hindu philosophy (at least in the interpretation I find satisfactory) there is the Supreme Being, the Brahman, which encompasses all deities. I find people interpreting this force as being masculine but I was taught that the Brahman in fact is also Shakti (meaning power) which is the feminine force. We forget that the One is made up of Two.

Here’s a quote by Sri Ramakrishna, one of the greatest Hindu spiritual leaders,

He who is Brahman is also Shakti. When thought of as inactive, He is called Brahman, and when thought of as Creator, Preserver, and Destroyer, He is called the Primordial Energy, Kali. Brahman and Shakti are identical, like fire and its power to burn. When we talk of fire we automatically mean also its power to burn. Again, the fire’’s power to burn implies the fire itself. If you accept the one you must accept the other.

I feel that the three widely recognised Hindu Gods (or forces as I see them): Brahma (Creator), Vishnu (Protector) and Shiva (Destroyer) should be counted as six, to include their feminine powers. These are – Sarawathi (Knowledge), Lakshmi (Prosperity) and Parvati (Love and devotion) respectively. Equal status!

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Newly but deeply Swiss

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The depth of the matter is this: home is
Where I decide it is; where my head rests;
Where charades is just a game for parties;
Where the stillness of earth can still be moving;
Where tears are not foreign and laughter is
Recognised. The truth of the matter is,
I am finally at home hereafter.
Post made as entry to The Daily Post's Weekly Photo Challenge: Depth

Expressions of love in Verona

Lover’s balcony
That inspires an expression
Immemorial

Verona, Guilietta
Juliet’s home, Verona, Italy
Love notes on the walls of Juliet’s home.

A lock and a key
To secure two promises
One: Love Two: Always

 

Locks of love, Verona
Locks of love, Verona

Brass and steel stolid
Cold metal substitutes for
Hot stainless desire

Locks of love -II

 

(..)

My Favourite Things, Verse 2

Continuing with My Favourite Things, as part of Cee's Fun Foto Challenge on things mentioned in songs.
Cream colored ponies and crisp apple strudels
Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles,
Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings,
These are a few of my favourite things.

As before I am posting photographs that I consider come close enough to what the verse lists,

1. Seeing Camargue horses run

Festival of Virgins, Stes Marie de la Mer, Camargue

My husband and I visited Saintes-Marie-de-la-Mer, in the region of Camargue situated in the south of France, on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in 2012. The town is famous as a pilgrimage destination for the Roma people. It is a lovely town with a unique history. You can read more about it here and here. We (unintentionally) happened to be there on the last sunday of July which is the day for the annual Festival of Virgins (Fête des Vierges). It was started in 1904 by Frederic Mistral, the great Occitan poet. It is a way to preserve the Occitan culture and lifestyle of the region and entails the running of the famous Camargue horses by the cavaliers (horsemen) from the region and young women parade around town dressed in traditional Provençal dresses. You may find them walking or looking majestic on the beautiful horses. You can catch a glimpse of these women in the picture above. The thunder of hundreds of horse hooves knocking on the asphalt of narrow streets in Saintes Marie that day filled the salty sea breeze with sweet and wondrous excitement.

2. Chocolate tart and Apfel Strudel at Café Diglas in Vienna

Cafe Sacher

Yes, I am remembering a Viennese café that is not Café Sacher. We went there as well but we fell in love with Café Diglas for its beautiful atmosphere. It had an ‘old Vienna’ feel. The interiors are marvellous and the café doesn’t attract as many tourists as Sacher. I am not a fan of the apple strudel as such but I have to say that the one at Café Diglas (the pie you see at the back on the photo) was delicious and went perfectly with the creamy Wiener Melange (oh how I love you!). The other tart (the one with the whipped cream on it) was most probably a chocolate cake. I don’t remember its name but I do remember it being divine! To be noted: Sacher torte is one of my favourite cakes of all times.

3. The church bells of Seville Cathedral

Seville Cathedral bells Seville cathedral bells

We walked up Giralda – the bell tower of the Seville Cathedral for the best views of the city of Seville. We weren’t disappointed! It took us 15 minutes and there were 34 ramps to scale. Phew! But you can always take a break in between at the little windows for some amazing views of the cathedral as you rise slowly above it. It’s well worth the effort. I fell in love with the bells at the top, that rang with the history of Medieval Europe.

4. I love swans

Swans Switzerland You can find swans in all lakes of Switzerland. They are territorial, hungry and always in love. I identify with them a 100%.

5. The Sound of Music is my favourite musical: The Tour continues…

gazebo, The Sound Of Music

Hellbrunn Palace, Salzburg
Hellbrunn Palace, Salzburg

The famous ‘I am Sixteen, going on Seventeengazebo was made just for the movie and the scene was shot in Hollywood. It was later presented to the city of Salzburg and is now kept in the gardens of the Hellbrunn Palace which is a very fun visit on its own merit.

Mirabell gardens, Salzburg

The Mirabell Gardens as part of the Schloss (Palace) Mirabell, in the city of Salzburg, feature in the ‘Do Re Mi‘ Song heavily. The wall of bushes you see encloses a path on which the kids and Maria have ‘a long long way to run‘.

Does the fountain look familiar in the picture below? It should. Watch the video of the song again and you’ll notice it in the last few moments of the song. In the last verse of the song the children and Maria run up and down the steps of a garden in line with the notes. Those steps lead to the Mirabell Gardens and we see the hill with the Salzburg castle towering over the city in the background. Mirabell gardens, Salzburg In the last verse of the song the children and Maria run up and down the steps of a garden in line with the notes. Those steps lead to the Mirabell Gardens and we see the hill with the Salzburg castle towering over the city in the background.

For the post on verse 1 please click here.

Kerala: Serene and Seductive

Peaceful journeying
On salty calm backwaters
Of God’s Own Country

Kerala backwaters

Soft rich visions of
Freshly green humidity
Turning into rice

Rice fields Kerala

Under the awning
Of coconuts and blue skies:
Equilibrium

Dawn

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